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The latest from Editor and chief executive Pattrick Smellie

Pattrick was judged New Zealand's best overall columnist and business columnist of the year at the Voyager 2021 Media Awards. He has more than 35 years’ experience reporting and working in New Zealand politics and the commercial sector. A former Press Gallery chairman, he is an award-winning journalist and has worked for titles including The Dominion, The Press, Sunday Star-Times and National Business Review. He was the first NZ correspondent for The Australian and co-founded BusinessDesk in 2008.

TPP: Canada in, NZ releases National Impact Analysis
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 26 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 26 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand government has published a 277-page assessment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement, concluding it is in the national interest, protects Maori rights under the Treaty of Waitangi, and carve...

Wellington ratepayers to pay $8 mln over 10 years for Canberra flights
Pattrick Smellie | Thu, 21 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 21 (BusinessDesk) - Wellington City Council is subsidising the new Singapore International Airlines direct service between Wellington and Canberra at close to $9 per passenger in a 10 year deal to secure the number three-ranked carrier's presence in th...

Tiwai Point smelter looks safe, despite global glut: First NZ Capital
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 20 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 20 (BusinessDesk) - The future of the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter appears to have become a little more secure, with the Rio Tinto-controlled plant thought to be roughly breaking even, largely thanks to a lower New Zealand dollar and the fact the pric...

Dramatic climate change benefits for NZ from electric vehicles, study shows
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 13 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 13 (BusinessDesk) - Electric vehicles have the capacity to make a dramatic impact to the carbon footprint of New Zealand's passenger vehicle fleet, with potential for greater gains as the country's already high renewable electricity production levels i...

More for NZ than US in TPP, says World Bank study, as MFAT confirms NZ signing ceremony
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 12 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 12 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand stands to reap considerably greater benefits from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade and investment agreement than the United States, says a new study of the controversial pact by economists at the World Bank. Howeve...

First direct air service between NZ and Aussie capitals tipped
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 12 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 12 (BusinessDesk) - Airlines and airports won't discuss it, but industry sources say that bureaucrats and politicians will soon have access for the first time to a direct flight between Wellington and Canberra. The new service, which would be an adj...

Improvement in NZ home affordability may not last
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 11 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 12 (BusinessDesk) - The affordability of New Zealand housing improved by 5.7 percent in the final three months of last year, helped in part by stalling Auckland house prices, according to the latest Massey University Home Affordability Report. Howev...

Labour's Robertson heads to Paris for new policy ideas
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 11 Jan 2016

By Pattrick Smellie Jan. 11 (BusinessDesk) - The Labour Party's finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, is heading to Paris to pursue new economic policy ideas as the party looks to refresh its platform this year ahead of the 2017 general election. His attendance at a Future of...

Oil explorers retreat to small-scale Taranaki plays in block offer
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 15 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 16 (BusinessDesk) - Oil and gas explorers have reacted to plunging global oil prices by taking up the smallest and most conservative range of new petroleum exploration licences since the government began its annual 'block offer' bidding process in 2012...

CORRECT: Flick Electric raises $5 mln new capital, adds Eastland as cornerstone investor
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 15 Dec 2015

(Fixes Evander shareholding in 4th graph, names institutions in last graph) By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 15 (BusinessDesk) - Wellington-based online electricity retailer, Flick Electric, has raised $5 million in its second capital-raising in two years, adding the Gisborne-based...

Tax cut allowance intact for 2017, Super Fund top-ups pushed out 2 years
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 15 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 15 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand economic growth may be below previous forecast in the next two years, slowing the pace of government debt repayments and delaying the resumption of Crown top-ups to the NZ Superannuation Fund, the half-year budget update...

NZ traders see carbon at $10 a tonne by Christmas, foresters hopeful
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 14 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 14 (BusinessDesk) - The New Zealand price of carbon is closing on $10 a tonne and could reach that level before the end of the year, says carbon trading house OMF, spurred by the global climate change agreement in Paris and signs the government will re...

NZ falls into line on 1.5 degree climate change target in Paris talks
Pattrick Smellie | Thu, 10 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 11 (BusinessDesk) - New Zealand will line up with more than 100 other countries behind the so-called 'high ambition' target to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees Celsius as the global climate change talks in Paris head into what may be a fin...

Govt and Labour/Greens in pre-Xmas holding pattern: poll
Pattrick Smellie | Thu, 10 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 10 (BusinessDesk) - Support for the main political parties has barely changed in the last month, according to the latest Roy Morgan New Zealand opinion poll. The governing National Party's rating in a poll of 882 people in the first few days of this...

Shell head office raises prospect of full exit from NZ
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 09 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 10 (BusinessDesk) - Multi-national oil company Royal Dutch Shell is putting its New Zealand assets up for strategic review as part of a global strategy to become "a simpler, more profitable and resilient company." While Shell New Zealand chairman Ro...

UPDATE: Serco's contract for Mt Eden prison didn't keep pace with changes in muster
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 09 Dec 2015

(Adds comment from Finance Minister Bill English, Corrections chief Ray Smith) Dec. 9 (BusinessDesk) - The Corrections Department used an opt-out clause to cancel its 10-year, $300 million contract with the UK's Serco to manage the Mt Eden Correctional Facility in Auckland, sa...

New Contact chairman confuses companies, Pryke steps down
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 09 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 9 (BusinessDesk) - Contact Energy shareholders met for the company's annual meeting in Wellington, disgruntled by a 5 percent earnings downgrade and an 8 percent slump in the share price this week, only to have their new chairman-elect confuse which co...

Productivity Commission seeks 'blue skies' thinking on NZ urban planning
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 08 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 9 (BusinessDesk) - The Productivity Commission is seeking "blue skies" thinking on New Zealand's urban planning rules, publishing an issues paper that will inform an investigation that government ministers hint could evolve into replacing the 25-year-o...

NZ electricity supply security unclear from 2019, Transpower says
Pattrick Smellie | Tue, 08 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 9 (BusinessDesk) - The large-scale closure of New Zealand gas and coal-fired electricity generation capacity and uncertainty about the future needs of major industrial users, such as the Tiwai Point aluminium smelter, are combining to create an uncerta...

Key rehabilitates Collins, catapults Bennett to climate change
Pattrick Smellie | Mon, 07 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 7 (BusinessDesk) - Prime Minister John Key has brought his wayward former Minister Judith Collins back to Cabinet in the portfolios she succeeded in early in his government’s rule, taking responsibility for the Police and Corrections services. Key s...

King Country Electric Power Trust rejects Trustpower takeover
Pattrick Smellie | Sun, 06 Dec 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Dec. 7 (BusinessDesk) - The King Country Electric Power Trust, owner of 19.98 percent of the small-scale electricity generator and retailer, King Country Energy, has confirmed that it will not be accepting the takeover offer by Trustpower for its stake....

CORRECT: Rangatira first-half operating earnings rise 11%, sees up to 30% full-year gain
Pattrick Smellie | Wed, 02 Dec 2015

(Corrects shareholder details in seventh paragraph) By Edwin Mitson Dec. 2 (BusinessDesk) - Rangatira, the diversified investor with stakes in smallgoods maker Hellers Butcher, Tuatara Brewery and the Rainbow's End theme park, posted an 11 percent gain in first-half operati...

David Parker returns to Labour front bench with water, regulation in reshuffle
Pattrick Smellie | Sun, 29 Nov 2015

By Pattrick Smellie Nov. 30 (BusinessDesk) - The Labour Party's former finance spokesman, David Parker, has returned to the party's parliamentary front bench with a brace of weighty portfolios, including environment, water, regulatory affairs and the information communications...


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